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As part of the current Middle East peace offensive, PA President Mahmoud Abbas is demanding a joint Israeli-Palestinian final status declaration to be presented to the peace conference in the United States.

Everything points to the fact that the Palestinians, under the cover of this peace initiative, are standing by their cardinal hard-line demands, which were first made clear by Mahmoud Abbas himself in 2000:

1. Right of Return for Palestinian refugees, which would prevent the Jewish people from exercising the right of self-determination in any country in the world.

2. Surrender of all of East Jerusalem, conquered from its illegal occupation by Jordan in 1967, to the Palestinian state. This would entail giving up the Hebrew University as well as the Temple mount, Jewish quarter and West Wall. The Jewish quarter had been inhabited for hundreds of years by Jews. The Jewish quarter of Jerusalem was ethnically cleansed of Jews by the British officered Arab Legion in 1948, when they illegally occupied East Jerusalem.

3. Return to the borders of the 1949 armistice agreements with no exchange of territory. This would entail the forced transfer of over 400,000 Jews from the West Bank and Jerusalem.

For obvious reasons, these conditions cannot be met. The Palestinian negotiators are certainly aware of this, and therefore they are either offering an "opening position" or they are simply using the peace negotiations as a tactic to advance their standing. Given that they did not budge from these positions in 2000, it is unlikely that they would do so now.

The above demands are certain to be obscured by voluminous rhetoric about "peace" and "rights." It would nonetheless be a mistake to ignore this fresh initiative, as it is always a mistake to ignore peace offensives. Israel must make an offer, and the terms of the offer must be clear to the whole world, so that nobody can claim that "Bantustans" were offered.

Israel should meet the Palestinian peace offensive with a public declaration that can be negotiated with the Palestinians. Here is my version.

Proposed Joint Israeli-Palestinian Declaration

The Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority recognize the following principles, which will be the basis for an enduring final settlement:

PRINCIPLES

1. The peace settlement will be based on mutuality of rights and recognition of common interests in the promotion of peace.

2. The Palestinian Authority, representing the Palestinian Arab people, recognize the right of the Jewish people to self determination in a state of the Jewish people, called "Israel," and undertake that they will do everything in their power to support the right of Israel to exist in peace.

3. The Israeli government, representing the Israeli people, recognize the right of the Palestinian people in their own state, to be called "Palestine," and the historic rights of the Arabs of Palestinian origin in their own state.

4. The Palestinian Authority recognize the national rights of the Jewish people, established by acknowledged historic facts, as the sole sovereigns in Jerusalem, and the religious rights of the Jewish people in holy places in Jerusalem, including the West Wall, the Temple Mount/Haram as Sharif and other Jewish holy places.

5. The Israeli government recognize the religious rights of the Palestinian Arabs and the Islamic Ouma in the Temple Mount/Haram as Sharif and other Muslim holy places.

6. The Israeli government agrees to withdraw from territories conquered in the Six Day War, in compliance with UN resolution 242 in the framework of a peace agreement that will include recognition and guarantees of the territorial integrity of the state of Israel by all Arab states, as stipulated in UN Resolution 242, as well as a complete end to acts of violence and calls for the destruction of Israel.

7. The Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority agree that no Israelis shall remain on Palestinian territory as citizens, and that no additional Arab Palestinians shall be admitted to Israeli territory, without the consent of the governments concerned, and that no repatriation schemes that threaten the right of self-determination of either people shall be a part of the peace agreement.

8. The legitimate rights and just claims of Arab Palestinian refugees, will be given equal consideration with those of Jewish refugees displaced directly by the hostilities, and of Jewish refugees from Arab countries, taking into account which of those individuals had the status of enemy belligerents.

9. The Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority agree that UN Security Council Resolution 242 does not require withdrawal of Israel from all territories occupied in the Six Day War, and cannot be interpreted in a way that would require ratification of territorial acquisitions that were accomplished in 1948 by force, and in contradiction of international law and UN General Assembly Resolution 181.

10. The final territorial settlement should provide a maximum of territory for the Palestinian Arab state within the area of the Palestinian territories held by Jordan and Egypt prior to 1967, but it must not be based on forcible massed transfer of populations that have been living there.

11. The settlement will be implemented in accordance with the principles of the quartet roadmap.

12. The parties recognize the long and unjust suffering of the Palestine Arab refugees and call upon the international community to end their artificial refugee status, to disband the UNRWA with all practical speed, to give Arab Palestinian refugees the same rights as other refugees, and to take all steps possible to ensure the speedy integration of Palestinian Arab refugees into the society of mankind, with full dignity, as citizens of their adopted countries and of the Palestinian Arab state that will be established.

IMPLEMENTATION

1. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will draw up a detailed map of the borders of the Palestinian State, as part of a detailed peace draft peace treaty, including provisions for territorial contiguity between Gaza and the West Bank. These agreements will include a detailed schedule for Israeli withdrawal, that is given in relative terms, beginning from the date when all preliminary steps have been accomplished.

2. Both sides will undertake to immediately implement all the provisions of the Oslo accords, and of the quartet roadmap and all provisions required by this agreement. Israel will dismantle all illegal outposts. The Palestinian authority will take steps to outlaw and dismantle all armed groups and all groups that call for the destruction of Israel. It will efficiently and effectively collect illegal arms, prosecute offenders, and extradite to Israeli justice all persons who committed crimes in Israel, in accordance with international law and custom and with the stipulations of the various agreements.

3. The detailed final status agreement and maps will be presented to the Israeli and Palestinian Arab peoples in separate referenda, as soon as it is practical to hold a referendum in the Gaza strip.

4. When all the above steps have been accomplished, the separate Arab states will each sign agreements with Israel declaring that they recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state, and promising diplomatic recognition and an end to the state of belligerency upon implementation of Israeli withdrawal and establishment of the Palestinian state.

5. When all the above steps have been completed, and when in fact there is a practical end to terror attacks on Israel, the process of Israeli withdrawal will be accomplished in the shortest time practical, to allow the establishment of a Palestinian state.

6. Israel undertakes to provide the maximum possible assistance and cooperation to the State of Palestine in development of its economy and improvement in the welfare of its citizens, for its own benefit and for the benefit of the entire region, provided only that this does not threaten Israeli security. Israel calls on the world to help the Palestinian authority achieve economic independence through constructive development, and to ensure that funding is allocated for economic development and social welfare rather than terror.




Perhaps the specific wording must be modified in this or that detail, but an Israeli initiative of this sort is very much needed, both in order to emphasize Israel's commitment to peace, and to reveal the true nature of the "peace" contemplated by the Palestinian Authority.

Ami Isseroff


Original content is Copyright by the author 2007. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000430.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to ZNN-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.

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